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2018 Gold Medal - Linda Searl, FAIA
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Please join AIA Illinois in a ceremony to honor our 2018 Gold Medal recipient on February 4 (date change due to weather) at Chicago Architecture Center. Download the invitation>

 

Linda Searl, FAIA, has steadfastly guided the evolution of Chicago’s built environment for more than twenty-five years, all the while churning out a consistently beautiful body of work and managing a successful practice at Searl Lamaster Howe. The AIA Illinois Board of Directors is pleased to announce that, for carrying the banner of architecture and design for countless projects, developments and initiatives, Linda Searl is the 2018 recipient of the Gold Medal, Illinois' highest honor for

outstanding lifetime service by an AIA member. Linda has been much in the fray, fighting for good design, yet her reputation is of quiet selflessness. 

 

“When you look at her resume, she’s done everything, and everything extremely well,” says John Syvertsen, FAIA, long-time collaborator with Linda in local volunteer initiatives. “Linda has been one of the most exemplary professionals that I’ve ever known in terms of level of service to the profession and the built environment.”


Linda served as chair of the Chicago Planning Commission from 2003 to 2012, often the lone architect’s voice. She continues to serve as a member. In fact, Linda has the reputation for always leaning in, whether it’s the rough and tumble world of the Planning Commission or the informal group of architects she helped assemble to problem-solve with Commissioners behind-the-scenes, called the Chicago Design Initiative. “Linda can tap the right people, whether it’s to come to one meeting or to take on a six-month process,” says Syvertsen.


Her professional achievements include membership in Architectural Digest's AD100, a list of the world's top architects and designers. Linda’s award-winning work has been published nationally in Architectural Record, Architecture, Chicago Magazine, and Interior Design to name a few. Exhibitions of her work have been held at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Athenaeum, State of Illinois Building, Chicago Architectural Club, Chicago Historical Society, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation.


“Linda has an innate enthusiasm and inquisitiveness to her work that is both inspiring and bar-setting,” says Greg Howe, AIA, principal at Searl Lamaster Howe Architects. "Design is a collaborative effort in her eyes and her keen intuition allows her to quickly identify the unique perspectives of each person at the table."

Adds Pam Lamaster-Millett, AIA, principal: "Her resolve to do what is right doesn’t necessarily make for an easy or straight forward process, but she is fearless about embarking on the journey nonetheless. Be it client projects in the office, or difficult decisions in her public career, Linda’s default is to begin and end with a positive change for all involved."

 

Linda’s professional activities include serving as a past President of Chicago Women in Architecture, President of the Chicago AIA Chapter, and Vice President and Regional Director of the National AIA. She has participated on juries for AIA Distinguished Building Awards in a number of other cities and nationally and has served as Chair of the Design Committee of AIA Chicago.


Linda is a former member of the Steering Committee for Chicago’s Central Area Plan and was co-chair of the Urban Design Task Force. 


She has also served as Exhibition Chair and President of The Contemporary Arts Council, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Archeworks, and as a board member at Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois and the Graham Foundation for the Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. She is currently a member of several organizations including Chicago Real Estate Executive Women, the Economic Club of Chicago, the Chicago Network, and the Chicago Architectural Club.


Her teaching experience includes visiting professorships at the University of Oklahoma, Washington University, University of Illinois, University of Florida, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Linda was also a visiting lecturer on various architecture/design topics at Washington University, Pratt Institute, Notre Dame University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Read Linda's interview with AIA Chicago about successful succession planning

See the list of our other distinguished recipients